Kwon, a female Clearchannel reporter who Handel points out is no relation to Dorner's murder victim Monica Quan, described the situation near the intersection of Magnolia and Arlington Avenues in Riverside where two officers had been ambushed and shot, one fatally, while waiting at a red light after midnight on Feb. 7th.
"There's cops at virtually every corner here," Kwon said, "they don't want random people just driving around and walking through the area.."... "It is very police heavy. Everywhere that you drive, I mean you can see cops from Upland, Highland, Riverside. All the surrounding areas, there's tons of cops and lots of roads blocked and this morning when I arrived, you know I was trying to just approach one of the cops just to see where they would like the media - we don't want to get in the way- and you know they had their guns drawn, they're being very cautious - anybody riding a bike, anybody walking by is being stopped WITH GUNS DRAWN... and flashlights on people earlier this morning."
Handel, who's an attorney, then expresses his dismay at the fact that police are pointing loaded guns at everyone: "And can you imagine you're walking by, and the police have drawn their guns as they question you why you are- why you are there. I mean I've never heard of that - and you've been a reporter for a while; you ever seen that, ever happening Jo?"
Kwon: "That has never actually happened to me - I yelled like 'I'm media', I was flashing my badge and my parking placard that's bigger, just- never had it happen before. Obviously they're taking a lot of precautions and- they don't want anybody in their area- in their investigation or the manhunt- especially on the main roads of Arlington and Brockton and Arlington and Magnolia - those areas are still blocked - people are being diverted, cops are outside of their cars actually like holding their guns, not drawing them on anybody but they actually are holding on to them just in case somebody tries to come by, walk by, just to say 'HEY- TURN AROUND'."
Handel: "Alright we'll keep in touch. I mean as you're there if any of the story breaks we'll go right back to you, thanks Jo. Alright now one of the things that she mentioned is the police are stopping people with their guns drawn as they're questioning folks that are anywhere in the area. And as Jo described, she was- and it was so disconcerting she is flashing her media badge yelling "I'm media! I'm media!" I mean its almost a war zone. I guess you know what, you can describe it as a war zone."
Handel then goes on to describe the two incidents earlier that morning when three innocent motorists had their vehicles shot with a barage of gunfire by overzealous police: "Two separate drivers in two separated incidents are driving by early in the morning... and the police unloaded into those cars. Into those trucks. Wounding both drivers in those two separate incidents. These are innocent people that are driving by. It's not like they stopped at the house. They didn't get out of the truck. They didn't have weapons. They didn't make any furtive moves. No one was reaching into a waistband so it is possible that it could be misinterpreted as reaching for a weapon, so a cop could reasonably claim this is what happened, usually that's considered a righteous shooting. Just innocent people driving down. Shot by the police, because the police are so skiddish, so on edge... When all of this ends- which it will today tommorow tonight were gonna hear the story a lot of the two innocent victims who thank goodness did not die.. and how many lawyers you think are lining up at their house right now."
Actually there were three victims who were shot at- two of whom were a 71 year old hispanic woman and her daughter delivering newspapers, another being David Perdue, a skinny white man in Torrance who was on his way to go surfing when Torrance police crashed into his vehicle and open-fired. None of the three bore any resemblance whatsoever to suspect Christopher Dorner. [See also Trigger-happy police must be dealt with harshly.] LAPD Chief Charlie Beck said that the cops who shot the women are "out of the field" until an investigation is completed. Kwon, the KFI reporter pictured here, is a petite Asian woman and doesn't resemble the 6-foot 270 lb. Dorner any more than the 71-year old woman or the skinny white surfer.
Legal scholar Jonathan Turley points out "The officers said that they thought the women's royal blue Toyota Tacoma matched Dorner's dark-colored Nissan pickup truck. Of course, under any interpretation of Tennessee v. Garner, that would not constitute a justified basis to open fire."
Astonishingly, Torrance Police Chief John J. Neu "said he could not say his officer was wrong for shooting at Perdue" and blamed "anxiety within our department" for the shooting. An early statement issued by the Torrance PD regarding the shooting stated that "the action was appropriate", but a press release currently posted in their archives omits such a reference. Neu, who was appointed Chief in 2006, lists an official bio on the city website which states "Chief Neu holds numerous training certificates and awards in law enforcement including recognition from the United States Department of Justice Organized Crime Bureau, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the United States Attorney's Office. Chief Neu has testified before the U.S. Congress on issues relating to Homeland Security and Domestic Terrorism." Numerous Federal Civil Rights lawsuits have been filed against John Neu and the City of Torrance in recent years.
An internet search for police policy of pointing loaded gun nets five million results of countless arrests of people who needlessly point loaded weapons at others. People who point guns at police, if theyre lucky enough not to immediately get their head blown off, are often charged with "menacing" or other such crimes and will go to prison for an extremely long time. Police are supposed to follow very specific rules regarding handling of weapons while on the job, such as outlined in this Detroit Police Department Training Manual. Experts who train police consistently point out that officers should not point their weapon at anyone whom they're "not willing to destroy".
In the 2009 Indiana court case Baird v. Renbarger, officer John Renbarger with the Shelbyville Police Department "decided to wield a 9-millimeter submachine gun, which he used to detain various people" during a criminal investigation. The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals stated "pointing a gun at a compliant adult in a non-threatening situation, as in this case, can also constitute excessive force."
The court also noted
"We have found similar uses of force unreasonable in other cases. For example, we held that gun pointing when an individual presents no danger is unreasonable and violates the Fourth Amendment. See Jacobs v. City of Chicago, 215 F.3d 758, 773-74 (7th Cir.2000) (pointing a gun at an elderly man's head for ten minutes even after realizing that he is not the desired suspect and when he presents no resistance is "out of proportion to any danger that Jacobs could possibly have posed to the officers or any other member of the community"); McDonald v. Haskins, 966 F.2d 292, 294-95 (7th Cir.1992) (pointing a gun at a nine-year-old child during a search and threatening to pull the trigger was "objectively unreasonable"). In a slightly different context, we observed that "police officers do not have the right to shove, push, or otherwise assault innocent citizens without any provocation whatsoever." Clash v. Beatty, 77 F.3d 1045, 1048 (7th Cir.1996)."
The Constitution and proper protocol should not go out the window during a criminal investigation, even if it's police officers who were the victim of a crime. Violating people's rights and discarding appropriate behavior under the color of law, is in fact the very thing that Christopher Dorner seemed to have initially protested while he was an officer. May this tragedy be a lesson to all departments in California and elsewhere, not to buckle under pressure in the future. It is unknown at this time whether any of the people in Riverside who had guns pointed at them during the Dorner investigation are going to file suit.
Eerie Predecessor of Chris Dorner: the James Beck Redux
The Christopher Dorner saga has an eerie predecessor with many striking similarities, involving a 35-year old former police officer named James Beck. Beck had worked for the Arcadia, CA Police Department for a short period of time (14 months) from June 1987 to August 1988 but was fired for lying to superiors after he had felt he had been treated unfairly by his supervising officer. After a series of various arrests and stints in jail over a number of years following his firing, Beck eventually got into a shootout with police as the ATF executed a warrant on his home. During the standoff, local schools were placed on 'lockdown' mode just as they were in Big Bear during the Dorner seige. Beck reportedly killed an L.A. County Sheriff's Deputy during the shootout and barricaded himself in his house, which was promptly "blasted full of tear gas" and burned to the ground with Beck in it on August 31, 2001. The story was completely overshadowed by the 9/11/01 attacks which occured 11 days later. However, there were skeptics and researchers who questioned whether the official version was the real story. [article continues here.]
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